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Can A DLP Chip Be Cleaned?

Can A DLP Chip Be Cleaned?

Have you ever tried to clean the DLP chip of your projector, or have you wondered if it is possible to do so?

Well, I’m glad to let you know that it is possible to clean the DLP chip of your projector. And in this article, I will be showing you how to do it.

Reading on, you will see the procedure needed to carry out this action. Know that the methods discussed in this article are effective, and will provide a good result if you go about it the right way.

Before we talk about the procedure for cleaning a DLP chip, let’s see what this chip is, and what it does in a projector.

What is a DLP chip in a projector?

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The DLP (Digital Light Processing) chip is a semiconductor chip with lots of small mirrors laid out on it. It is also known as a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device).

These mirrors reflect light towards the screen, creating pixels. When the mirrors are turned on, the chip reflects light onto the projection lens. However, when it is turned off, it reflects light away from the projection lens.

DLP projectors produce sharper images, and this can be attributed to the use of DLP chips. More DLP chips mean more pixels, and more pixels results in sharper images.

Why do people want to clean a DLP chip?

The major reason why people want to clean the DLP chip is to get rid of dust, light oils, and other particles that may be on the chips.

The dirt or dust can be harmful to the DLP chips. It prevents them from reflecting light properly. The image produced will be blotchy. This means that some sections will appear blurry.

Note that, when the DLP chips are affected, the pixels may also be affected, and thus the image quality becomes diminished.

How to clean a DLP chip?

There are different methods to clean a DLP chip, and you will find some of them here. These methods include: light cleaning, which is the less aggressive type, wet cleaning, and aggressive cleaning.

However, we will only look into the two most common methods which are, the light and wet cleaning methods.

The contaminant on the chip will determine what type of cleaning method you will use. Dust and lights oils will require the light cleaning method, while finger oils require the wet cleaning method.

Note that, when cleaning the DLP chips, you should avoid scratching the chips. Scratches can be permanent, and it will affect the projected image. Handle the chip with great care, so you do not damage any of its components.

Remove the DLP chip from the projector before cleaning. Also wear a glove before carrying out this procedure. It will protect the chip from static electricity. Now, let’s look at these cleaning methods in detail.

The Light Cleaning

This method involves the use of Forced Ionized Air, which must be very clean. And it will require in-line filters on the air hose.

What is needed

Procedure for cleaning

Blow off the glass surface of the DLP chip; do this gently. This should remove some of the dust particles on the chip. However, if there are still some contaminants on the glass, then proceed to the next step.

Use the microfiber optical cleaning cloth to wipe the DLP chip. It is recommended that you start in the center of the DLP glass window, then wipe lightly towards the outer edge; do this with one continuous stroke.

Note that, for every wipe, you are to use a new section of the microfiber optical cleaning cloth. This is to ensure that you do not scratch the chips with particles that you have already gathered on the cloth.

Repeat this procedure. This time, wipe toward the outer edge. When you are done cleaning the chip. Inspect the glass to be sure no contaminants remain on the glass.

Wet Cleaning

This method is used to remove tougher particles or contaminants from the chip. You can use this method if light cleaning does not get rid of the contaminants.

It is a more aggressive cleaning method. It involves the use of liquids such as isopropyl alcohol with DI water.

What is needed

Optical cleaning pads: these are ready-made cleaning clothes that have been saturated with Isopropyl alcohol and DI water.

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Procedure for cleaning

Place the DLP chip/ DMD glass upon an ESD-dissipative work surface and hold it firmly.

Use the optical cleaning pad to wipe the outer edge of the DLP chips in one stroke. It is recommended that you start in the center of the DLP/DMD glass window, then wipe toward the outer edge with one continuous stroke.

While doing this, make sure you rotate the DLP chips 180 degrees, and for every wipe, use a clean area of the optical cleaning pad.

Repeat the procedure. Start in the center of the DMD and wipe toward the outer edge with one stroke. Check the glass to see if there are any particles left.

If you followed the steps properly, then the contaminants should be gone. However, if the contaminants remain on the glass after this procedure, then you will have to use the aggressive cleaning method which requires the use of acetone.

Watch the video below to have a better understanding of these cleaning methods. In the video, you will see how best to handle and clean the DLP chips in your projector.

Handling and Cleaning a DLP DMD

How long does a DLP chip last?

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DLP chips are quite long-lasting. Usually, they can last for about ten to fifteen years.

Although DLP chips hardly fail, certain complications may arise at some point. Stuck pixels are one of these complications. It results from the board wiring, and not necessarily defective pixels.

A poor projector cooling system can also result in bad DLP chips. A DLP projector bulb is usually more than 100 watts and it produces lots of heat.

When the projector’s cooling system is bad, the bulb becomes heated and the chips wear out easily.


Dust and particles prevent DLP chips from working effectively. It deters the main function of the chips, which is to reflect lights.

This affects the image quality of the projector, and sometimes, the contrast. The methods that are explained in this article will keep dust, liquid oils, and finger oils away from your DLP chips.

If you follow the steps properly, you can enhance the contrast of your projector and boost the image quality. It will be little or nothing less than the way it was the first time you got it.

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